St Helens suffer first defeat of season against Leeds

Leeds Rhinos are the first team to beat title favourites St Helens this season.

Justin Holbrook made just one change to his St Helens side that beat Warrington last week. Jon Wilkin replaced the injured Alex Walmsley.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott made two changes to his side that beat Hull FC last time out. Jack Ormondroyd and Mitch Garbutt were replaced by Cameron Smith and Mikolaj Oledzki.

Ashton Golding left the field in the seventh minute and didn’t return after failing a concussion assessment.

St Helens started the better side but it was Leeds who drew first blood. Anthony Mullally stormed through several Saints defenders to open the scoring. Kallum Watkins converted to put his side in a 6-0 lead after nine minutes.

The hosts replied not long after though. Ben Barba produced a bit of magic footwork to go over out wide. Danny Richardson added the conversion to level the score at 6-6.

Tommy Makinson thought he had scored for Saints midway through the first half but the video referee ruled it out due to him knocking on over the line.

Leeds youngster Oledzki was caught stealing the ball in a two-man tackle and as a result, Saints opted to take a shot at goal. Richardson added the penalty goal to edge his side into an 8-6 advantage.

Holbrook’s men extended their lead on the half hour mark. Richardson got a fine pass inside to Makinson who flicked it wide to Adam Swift who finished in the corner. The conversion was off target but Saints were 12-6 to the good.

The Rhinos levelled the score just before half time. Joel Moon slipped Tom Briscoe through a gap who then assisted the supporting Richie Myler. Watkins converted and the score was 12-12 at the interval.

The second half took a while to get going for both teams. It was Saints who went in front following the restart as Carl Ablett stepped off the mark. Richardson added the penalty goal from in front of the sticks, St Helens 14-12 Leeds after 55 minutes.

Watkins tied the score just three minutes later though with a penalty goal after James Roby was caught having a second effort in the tackle.

Leeds took the lead on the hour as the ball fell into the arms of Ash Handley who had plenty of space to go over out wide. The conversion was missed but the Rhinos were 18-14 ahead.

Handley extended Leeds’ lead in the 65th minute as he latched onto a grubber from Joel Moon. Myler couldn’t add the conversion but Leeds were 22-14 up.

Saints pulled one back and it was the try of the game. Wales star Regan Grace showed a clean pair of heels to make a 60-metre break and assist the supporting Barba who crossed the whitewash. Richardson’s conversion was on point and Saints were only 22-20 behind.

Matt Parcell sealed the win with six minutes remaining as he scooted from dummy-half to touch down. Myler converted to clinch a 28-20 victory for the current Super League champions.

St Helens: 23 Barba; 5 Swift 2 Makinson, 4 Percival, 19 Grace; 1 Lomax, 18 Richardson; 10 Amor, 9 Roby, 16 Thompson, 17 Peyroux, 11 Taia, 12 Wilkin. Subs: 6 Fages, 13 McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14 Douglas, 20 Lees.

Leeds: 1 Golding; 2 Briscoe, 3 Watkins, 22 Handley, 5 Hall; 6 Moon, 7 Myler; 16 Mullally, 9 Parcell, 10 Singleton, 11 Jones-Buchanan, 12 Ablett, 15 Delaney. Subs: 24 Walker, 27 Smith, 28 Oledzki, 30 Walters.

Starman: Matt Parcell (Leeds Rhinos)

Attendance: 11,482

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